The Final 4 is now upon us.
The Elite 8 is now completed and 4 tickets have been punched to Phoenix. These teams each had to scrape and claw for a chance to get this far and bring home a national championship. We are now getting to the point where every possession for each program is getting more and more crucial towards the end result. With a mixture of college blue-bloods as well as some programs making their tournament debuts, this year’s tournament has created a stir and shake-up on the entire college basketball realm.
#1 Gonzaga – 83 vs #11 Xavier – 59
#1 Kansas – 60 vs #3 Oregon – 74
#1 North Carolina – 75 vs #2 Kentucky – 73
#4 Florida – 70 vs #7 South Carolina – 77
3 Heroes of the Elite 8:
Tyler Dorsey – G, Oregon
Stats: 27 points/ 1 steal/ 9-13 FG/ 6-10 three-point FG
The year was 1939 when the University of Oregon last made the Final Four. That team went on to win the National Championship. Fast Forward to today’s Oregon Ducks who have clinched a spot in the Final Four and are a step closer to achieving the school’s second Nation Championship, and it’s due in large part to the consistency and clutch shot-making ability of Tyler Dorsey.
Dorsey has been the heart and soul of this team, and every time a timely bucket is needed, Dorsey is usually the one with the ball in his hands. Dorsey has gotten them through tough match-ups in both the second round versus Rhode Island where he hit a go-ahead three with under a minute remaining in the second half. He followed that by hitting another go-ahead shot, this time a layup against Michigan in the Sweet 16. Dorsey has scored 20-plus points in every game so far in this tournament scoring 24, 27, 20, and 27.
Oregon has a great chance of being crowned National Champions, as long as Dorsey keeps up his level of play and can get solid contributions from role players like Jordan Bell who is a double-double machine and fellow playmaker in Dillon Brooks.
Nigel Williams-Goss – G, Gonzaga
Stats: 23 points/ 8 rebounds/ 4 assists/ 7-19 FG
Being the best player on the court for Gonzaga is something that Nigel Williams-Goss has accepted. In the matchup against a hard-nosed, grind it out type team in Xavier, Williams-Goss took charge and sent this Cinderella team back home in their carriage. Although struggling to get a lot of his shots to fall, his confidence did not waver, as he kept on shooting and contributing on the glass, pulling down 8 rebounds.
Williams-Goss has been on the national radar in terms of being one of the best players on one of the best teams in college basketball this season. Throughout the tournament, he’s lived up to the hype and quieted Gonzaga doubters. Williams-Goss has had up and down performances throughout the tournament, however, he seems to be trending in an upward direction right when Gonzaga needs him to be. Williams-Goss has collected point totals of 9, 20, 10, and 23.
Whether it be from his scoring ability, his rebounding capabilities, assisting to teammates, or his defensive prowess. One of these facets must be expressed by Williams-Goss if the Bulldogs wants a chance of cutting down the nets for the first time in program history.
Luke Maye – F, North Carolina
Stats: 17 points/ 3 rebounds/ 2 assists/ 6-9 FG
It was the unlikeliest of heroes that came out of this classic match-up between two of college basketball’s blue-bloods. Luke Maye was able to find ways throughout this game to get the shots he had wanted. He provided energy and timely baskets off the bench for North Carolina. Oh yeah, he also hit the game-winning shot with just 0.3 seconds remaining.
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) March 26, 2017
Maye has come on of late for the Tar Heels, giving them an already scary roster with more firepower heading into the Final Four. Maye only scored 17 points combined in the first two games of this tournament for North Carolina. Since then, Maye he has since posted 16 points in a win against Butler and 17 points versus Kentucky. The tournament is all about that one shining moment from each team, Maye’s game winner might just be that moment. Considering the heartbreak this team went through last year, it is good to see one land in their favor.
For North Carolina to cut down the nets, they will have to keep Oregon’s Jordan Bell off the offensive glass. An easier task said than done, but with Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks it is achievable. Also, they’ll need to find Tyler Dorsey late in the game and play him tight as he has proven if the game is close he is more than likely to be sending you home. If those two things can be handled, then the Tar Heels’ firepower from the starters as well as the bench will propel them forward.